Understanding the process of a divorce is essential to successfully getting one. After you have endured a difficult marriage, you deserve a timely separation. You should ideally hire a divorce lawyer to assist you in the proceedings. They know the legal requirements and complications and can keep you informed about the division of assets or custody of children. If you want to go ahead with a deed of separation, having a lawyer assist you would be helpful. Read on to know the legal requirements of getting a divorce in Singapore.

Eligibility for divorce

The first requirement for anyone to get a divorce in Singapore is that they should have been married for at least three years. This is specifically for cases where there has been no exceptional hardship sufficient for forcing a divorce.

If you have not been through three years of marriage, you will have to prove that your spouse has been exceptionally cruel and unreasonable. For persons who have undergone marriages that are void or illegal to begin with, annulment of marriage is another option. These include cases of underage marriage, polygamy, incestuous alliances, unsolemnised Muslim marriages, and so on. Marriages can be declared void also under Section 106 of the Women’s Charter.

What are the conditions for Irretrievable Breakdown?

If you want a divorce, you will have to prove that your marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown. There are many conditions that can give rise to an irretrievable breakdown. The legally defined terms for these conditions are:


Adultery is when your spouse has betrayed your trust by engaging in an extramarital relationship, and you find it impossible to live with them. You can file for divorce in such a case. However, you will need evidence to prove the adultery, since it will generally not be admitted to. This can be done by hiring a private investigator.

Unreasonable treatment

Unreasonable behaviour has to be proved. This is an often-chosen reason for divorce because unreasonable treatment can constitute a lot of activities. It is also debatable. But among the reasons you might have are domestic violence, regular late nights, lack of intimacy, drug addiction and so on. The difference between adultery and unreasonable treatment is that there is no need for admitting to the latter.


According to The Women’s Charter, desertion is when your spouse has deserted you for 2 years at a stretch immediately before you file for divorce. You would have to prove that the two of you have been living separately and that your spouse intends to desert you and has no intention of making a return.


Under separation, you as plaintiff will have to prove that you and your spouse have been living separately for three years. The consent of both is required. However, separation is not when the two of you have lived separately due to necessity. If your spouse has been posted abroad, that time will not be considered part of your separation. In case of reconciliation, it should not be more than 6 months for the separation to be considered continuous. If the period of separation runs into 4 years, you don’t need the consent of your spouse to the divorce.